The creation of an ecosystem for innovation in the port logistics environment is one of the main objectives of the Strategic Plan for the next five years of the Port of Barcelona.

smart port

The SmartPort model

The Port of Barcelona is advancing towards a smart port, where technology automates processes and connects the different actors in the logistics chain, combining mobility, the environment, the economy, logistics, governance and the social factor.

Innovation is strategic

Despite being a very traditional sector with difficulties in establishing a change of mentality, ports can no longer compete solely in infrastructure, since the margin of differentiation on this point is scarce. 

Infrastructure is increasingly becoming a commodity. To differentiate itself, to be competitive, it has to build a layer of services, a layer of innovation, a layer of added value.

The Port of Barcelona as shown in its 4th Strategic Plan, made the decision to position itself as an innovative port. For several years now, it has been working through different initiatives in the search for this differentiation, creating added value not only for the port community and its clients, but also for the whole of society.

The Port, in its Innovation Plan, defines innovation as the conversion of new ideas into value for the port community, its clients and society.

Based on its own innovation model defined from the concept of Smart Port, the Innovation Plan 2021-2024 of the Port of Barcelona sets out the lines of action that will be its roadmap for the coming years:

  1. Create appropriate innovation management structures
  2. Establish agreements and partnerships with its innovative environment
  3. Create an innovative ecosystem focused on the blue economy
  4. Spreading innovation

A Through these 4 actions, the Port of Barcelona aims to:

  • Strengthen its role as a driver of economic recovery 
  • Promote innovation and digitisation of the logistics ecosystem
  • Foster synergies with the city


Innovation hub

The Port of Barcelona, in its Innovation Plan, has assumed the role of uniting the entire ecosystem that surrounds it, promoting innovation focused on the blue economy. In addition to working on various agreements and alliances, the Port is immersed in the creation of an innovation district linked to the blue economy. This technological district includes the development of a network of innovation centres among which Pier01 and the future BlueTechPort should be highlighted. Thus, the Port of Barcelona is positioned as a testing area for prototypes and new developments and is consolidated as a space for training and creating talent.

Manage innovation

The Port of Barcelona changed its internal management structure in 2021 to emphasise the strategic and transversal nature of innovation. The Innovation and Business Strategy sub-department was created, with double reporting of the Presidency and Management, as well as the Innovation Department.

Participatory structures have also been defined, both within the port authority itself and at the level of the entire port community with the following tools:

  • Digital Committee 
  •  Internal&nbsp R&D Technical Committee;
  • The Strategy and Innovation Working Group of the Governing Council of the Port Community at an external level

But innovation requires agility, something that It is not easy to achieve in a public administration such as the port authority. Therefore, the Port of Barcelona is in the process of creating the BCN Port Innovation Foundation, a private foundation that aims to accelerate innovation processes in the port community.

Open innovation

Collaboration with other ports is also key to the development of open innovation, through initiatives in which the Port of Barcelona plays an essential role: